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March 29, 2022

145 Strategic Leadership and Creative Branding with David Gorodetski CEO of Sage Communications | Greater Washington DC DMV Changemaker

145 Strategic Leadership and Creative Branding with David Gorodetski CEO of Sage Communications | Greater Washington DC DMV Changemaker
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In this episode of the Partnering Leadership podcast, Mahan Tavakoli speaks with David Gorodetski. David is the co-founder and CEO of Sage Communications. David Gorodetski shares pivotal moments that led to his co-founding of Sage Communications. David also talks about the leadership challenges caused by the pandemic and how the crisis has helped him become a better leader. Finally, David Gorodetski shares why community involvement is essential for him and its role in Sage as the organization continues to bring value to its clients.  

Some highlights:

- David Gorodetski's upbringing in Israel and his grandfather's influence

- How David ended up in New York City and why he stayed

- The founding story of Sage Communications

- Sage's commitment to cause-related marketing

- David Gorodetski on leading in the early days of the pandemic

- Working with a collective vision to elevate Sage

- David on "own your no"

Also mentioned:
Rich Diviney - author of The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance and retired Navy SEAL commander (Listen to Partnering Leadership conversation with Rich Diviney)

Connect with David Gorodetski:

Sage Communications

David Gorodetski on LinkedIn

David Gorodetski on Twitter

Connect with Mahan Tavakoli:



More information and resources available at the Partnering Leadership Podcast website: 



Mahan Tavakoli:

Welcome to partnering leadership. I'm really excited this week to be welcoming David Gorodetski David is the co-founder and CEO of Sage Communications. They're a marketing and branding organization with national and global clients. I really enjoyed the conversation with David because I've gotten a chance to see his strategic mind in action, through his involvement in various organizations into community and through the impact he has on the many clients that David and Sage serve. 

I also enjoy hearing from you. Keep your comments coming. mahan@mahantavakoli.com There's a microphone icon on partnering leadership.com. Really enjoy getting those voice messages. Don't forget to follow the podcast on your favorite platform. So you get notified of Tuesday releases with magnificent Changemakers from the greater Washington DC DMV region and Thursday releases with brilliant global thought leaders, primarily leadership book authors. 

Now, here is my conversation with David Gordetski. 

[00:01:09]Mahan Tavakoli:David Gorodetski my friend, welcome to partner in leadership. I am thrilled to have you in this conversation with me.

[00:01:14] David Gorodetski: Thank you Mahan so much. I am excited to be here with you. 

[00:01:17] Mahan Tavakoli: I'm really excited, knowing some of the impact. You've had both a leading your own organization and also in the broader community talking about some of those leadership lessons that you've learned. But before we get to that, David, we'd love to know whereabouts you grew up and how your upbringing impacted who you've become.

[00:01:37] David Gorodetski: I'm originally from Israel. I can not fool anyone by saying this is a south Jersey accent. No one believes me anymore. You have no idea how difficult it is to soften my voice right now. So you're listening. Don't think that I'm yelling because most Israeli do all the time.

[00:01:59] Mahan Tavakoli: A lot of people from the entire Mediterranean region, David people don't get it. They think they're yelling at each other while they're expressing a lot of love with emotion and passion.

[00:02:09] David Gorodetski: We're emotional. So I was born and raised in Israel. And I think, my, upbringing left marks that, made me who I am in many ways and shape who I will be tomorrow. Being a mixed family in many ways, from being. Ashkenazi's variety. kind of in between those two dynamics of the families that my father came from, the more Orthodox observing Jewish family, my mum did not.

 A lot of my social conscious my empathy to others, my grandma was a Holocaust survivor. I carry that mix of a fighter for justice for the right cause, with a very strong empathy for the weak. that's what I carry, 

[00:02:59] Mahan Tavakoli: Well, David, that is really important because you have been able to see that difference in your own life growing up. I also know that your grandfather played a significant role in your life.

[00:03:13] David Gorodetski: Yeah, my grandfather name was David, just like I am, and I was named after him while he was still alive. He's family were in Israel before the war. He married my grandma who was a Holocaust survivor and a drifter, both of them actually. And he, in particular, they were my sanctuary. They were my escape. My father was a tough man. My mom did an amazing job and I think we all came up pretty well. And my father was a tough one, not to his fault. I think that was a different generation the way he grew up, it was not easy. And while not with my grandparents who live, about 20 minutes bus ride from where I grew up. I was with my books and with my drawing and diving into my imaginary dream world. And so my grandfather was someone who I really, really, really love.

He was my role model. as a man, he was a really well-educated. He was very patient, speak many languages. We sat there on the weekends looking through encyclopedias and some of them were in English and French, and I didn't understand a word. And I just pointing to the pictures in the encyclopedia.

He used to explain to me what it means. As I was growing up, they kind of pranked me that in my Bat Mitzvah, when I turned 13, my gift will be series of encyclopedia. No bicycle, no nothing fancy. And I was dying for that day to come, but then he got sick. And me growing up in a mixed family, our home would have kosher because we were more observant because of my father.

There was a relationship with God and faith and religion the praying. And I was pretty naive, until then I didn't experience anything heartfelt. Yeah. There was the war. My father was away for a few months, but he came back everything was fine. And then my grandfather got sick and it was terrible. It was really terrible. 

And I remember. Putting all myself out there, like talking to God, praying to God. I mean, in the most childish way, like, take me, please save My grandpa, please. I would do anything. And My mom wants to protect me seeing him at his worst. And she didn't allow me to come to the hospital. at this point he was unconscious. And I remember that I insisted I was 12 and a half and I said, mom, I have to go to see grandma. I don't care. I'm going. if I don't go with you, I'll just go by myself.

 And she did. I walked in the room and the man by this point was about two, three days unconscious. My grandma was sitting there next to him, holding his hand. I walk in with my mom, a bit shocked. I look at him, I get closer. My grandma said, come hold his hand, I hold his hand. And he's opened his eyes 

And he talked to me I didn't know, I did not understood the medical condition cause I thought he was just asleep because I walk in and suddenly opened his eyes and I was in talk to me. I don't think there's anything special in that, but my grandma was started crying my mom was like, all white and he said, I was waiting for you. Take care of grandma. I love you so much. and that was it, day later he was gone. 

And I was so betrayed by God. When I talk about my relationship with God, my faith, I have a very strong spiritual compass. I do believe the greater force because even the greatest scientists in the world get to the point where they cannot explain something. So it's very comforting to say something bigger than us created it, and I'm okay with it. I also believe that we as humans see how divided we are, nations people, neighbors, colors, men, and women. I think that we carry piece of the divine, of the Goddess, because once we let it come out, that's our spiritual compass. If we come together, we don't have threats. There's no alien ship sitting over our atmosphere and trying to attack us just yet, don't look up, but, when they do, then we'll come together.

And then that God and I'm talking about who come out, but I don't understand it. So for me, my relationship with the organized religion is very complex. I understand and see the value in community building through that organization, but I am very critical of that in so many other ways. And so only David no gatekeeper, no filter, no bouncer to allow me to talk to the spirituality that some call Mahatma, Buddha, God, Elohim,, whatever they might be. 

[00:07:56] Mahan Tavakoli: It's interesting that you mentioned that David, the experience you had with your grandfather and the significant impact he had on you has continued to have an impact on who you have become. So if your grandpa was to reflect on who you are at this point and who you have become, what do you think would have made him most proud of David now?

[00:08:20] David Gorodetski: Wow. I think that he will really proud that I'm nothing like my father.

[00:08:29] Mahan Tavakoli: In what way? You've, referenced your father's harsh lithic uplift times. So, in what way are you different from your father that would have made your grandpa so proud?

[00:08:39] David Gorodetski: It sounds like I really bashing my dad and I'm not, I mean, he was, tough man. He was complicated. I guess he has his own trauma in his life which I never able to learn about, but, I know that men who went through trauma are become extreme to their environment. And I guess he went through trauma and I don't know if it was war or the way he brought up and, myself and my brother were the one who experiences extreme, never my mom. They love each other. She was crazy. So I was in generation where my father wanted to give us a slap, no one interfere. So if anything, those marks that he left only taught me what I don't want to be. And I know that many of us are become a mirror of the way we brought up. Very similar to our parents.

I knew, I knew that I would be not there like that. And so the reason why I said that my grandpa would be very proud of me not being being like my father is because when I went to spend time with like my parents, when I run to them, they were my sanctuary, it's because he, also saw scars that I had at the time, emotional scars that I had at the time being there, and my grandfather was not like that. 

I want to make sure that the people who listen here understand that I did have a good father. He gave me a lot of examples that I still carry with me. He was a hardworking man. He took care of his boys and his wife. He was sensitive beyond belief. And I think that combination of experienced certain trauma and being extremely sensitive, making feel so vulnerable and exposed and the wall that he builds around him are tall and thick.

I can tell you another thing about my dad. Unfortunately, he passed away too young to see us, myself and my brothers, becoming men and having family and having kids. And he would have enjoyed it so much to see how far we made it. He got sick with cancer. it wasn't easy. And when he become more fragile and weak and patient, because of that, I remember one day we had a conversation and I said, dad, you know, all those years, all I want you is to give me a hug and to tell me, I love you, son. That's all. 

And he paused and he said, I don't know how to say those words. I don't know how to do that, but every time I bought you something and every time you ask for something and you got it, it was my way to tell you I love you son. That closed the circle of me a bit more mature at the time to understand that it was really not his fault.

Sometime when we got really upset and really flamed because he's, so I left the bicycle outside or something gave me it's not respectful enough. It was because like, when I tell you, Hey, Mahan, I love you. And it tells me, I don't care about your love. 

[00:11:44] Mahan Tavakoli: Yeah. it's interesting because David, I think people from those past generations had difficulty accessing some of their humanity and love and being able to express it in the ways and norms that we do today, which is somewhat different. 

So you had this upbringing that has influenced you all throughout, made you a lot more empathetic to other people, made you better human being to be around and a better leader too. What made you choose to go into design 

[00:12:21] David Gorodetski: I was always into arts, and like art and anything related the ocean and the sea, that was my passion, and I was not sure that I could make a living from being a true artist. Like the painter who live with the long hair and doesn't care about anything, that's what I really want it to be. But then, reality sink and I have become something different. And the closest thing, to being an artist is to use my creative skills, by the way, everyone's creative, but to use my creative skills in something close enough, and that's when I discovered that communication arts and design, is really interesting.

And I realized and discover a different side of my brain that I haven't been used until then that has to do with ideation and using the skills of simplifying complex issue into the core, which is a really good skill when you have to communicate things to a large audience when you want to activate people.

That was the beginning. I'm so happy that I picked that profession. There haven't been one day that I didn't enjoy what I do because of that profession. Of course, there are a lot of challenging moments, but being who I am and where I got, because I made this decision then, it's something I don't regret. 

[00:13:47] Mahan Tavakoli: Based on that you were able to open up a design boutique, but why then give that up to go back to school.

[00:13:55] David Gorodetski: Okay. That design boutique was made, bags, belts, leather products, and I was right after the military. I did it with a friend or I thought it was a friend and we hit it off. We had a really unique designs and we start to create off. And I remember working into the night and work with the leather.

It's very satisfying you know, like you work with something instead of gratification, you have a bag and people, oh God, how did you do that? Can we order 10 more? And I said, how am I going to make ten more and you go to the leather factory when it processed the leather and smells horrible. And I was actually initially into continue that and grow that. And then I discovered that my partner was dealing with drug issues. 

I decided it's not healthy for me to be in this environment, but at this point I also realized, that in order to broaden my horizon as a designer, as a creative person that use visual arts to create things I need guidance, I need more solid foundation. And that's when I decided to go back to school. 

[00:15:04] Mahan Tavakoli: You ended up in school in New York after you finish you had a choice, David, of, going back to where your family, friends, support structure, everything you had known up to that point was, or staying in the states. Why did you choose to stay in the states?

[00:15:24] David Gorodetski: Sometime I don't know. In retrospect it was really a foolish decision because, because everyone's there and I didn't escape from anything, the notion moving to another country and made it my home was not anywhere in my thought process. But my career started to move really, really quickly, and it start with an unexpected twist where my wife at the time, said that she doesn't want to stay in New York. And we both came down to visit a friend who lived in Columbia, Maryland, and it's very green, and very open, and very suburb, and I wanted to keep my marriage together. And then we moved to Columbia and I have no job and no prospect, and nothing. You guys remember the days of the Washington Post want ads? 

[00:16:20] Mahan Tavakoli: Some people do, some people have no idea. What is that?

[00:16:25] David Gorodetski: Yeah, that's the paper Dan has wanted and we go through this thing. And then the bucket that I was looking for, advertising was always tiny. Yeah, I opened the post, I was staying with our friend because I didn't have any apartment, nothing. And there was an ad from McVicker design and communication, who was a design studio in Shirlington. I was in Columbia, I sent him by mail. It's a cover letter and resume. 

[00:16:57] Mahan Tavakoli: Pretty soon, you're going to tell me, David, you put it on a leg of a carrier pigeon to fly over there.

[00:17:04] David Gorodetski: No, this is the nineties, but you know, we still be we'll send cover letter. In any case, I went there for an interview and they really liked me. And person who interviewed me was really impressed.

And then, and it was Jennifer and she said, Hey, I want you to meet the owner of the place. And then, Jamie came down from the second floor. Tall skinny guy with, like the hair is done, the whole thing, and said, oh, I hear that Jennifer is very impressed.

Oh by the way, before Jennifer went up, she asked me, what are your salary requirements? I have no idea. Nothing. In my head, I quickly calculate, I knew that roughly what apartment rent for B, I need the car, blah, blah, blah. and I said it $50,000? I have no idea. And she said, okay. And she went up and then he came down and said, so nice to meet you, I heard a great things about you. I understand that you are available. We'll accept $60,000 as a salary? I swear to God, I almost said, I almost told him, I asked for 50. 

[00:18:14] Mahan Tavakoli: Wait, you pay me too much.

[00:18:17] David Gorodetski: Yeah, I did. and it was a good start. I developed some good friendships there with few people. And eight months into that I was recruited to stacking advertising the population, that was the agency that Larry's to own. And that was a really turn because I moved from being in a design studio, art director, which was my first job direct technically, to become an associate creative director at the time, the largest property held agency in this region. And I start to run a practice down. 

[00:18:51] Mahan Tavakoli: From there you ended up at Ogilvy David, and you were at Ogilvy post September 11th, which, in addition to all the trauma, there was a lot of economic impact that came from it, both in the states and globally, but especially in the states and, impacting, agencies, such as Ogilvy.

 How did that go for you?

[00:19:16] David Gorodetski: Because all the business stop, I was asked to reduce my workforce by a certain percentage. And I look at the people, it was difficult time and I pick up the most unlikely person. His name was David. I actually liked him. He was quite smart, but a bit misunderstood within the environment. I didn't believe that he was appreciated by his peers and as a manager, I could tell. I was quite close to him.

And so I called him to my office and I said, David, I was asked to make a reduction of people. It is up to me who I pick. They don't care. And I'm going to pick you, and here is why. You are close friend of mine and I admire you and I respect you, but I don't think that you are appreciated by peers. And sometime I don't think that you actually really, really like watching.

And I think that I might going to give you here an opportunity that down the road, you will actually do something that you really like, and it will be appreciated by the people you work with. And I know it's very difficult for you, and it's very difficult for me, but I understand what you're going to go throug and I'm here for you, but this is my decision. David and I stayed friends and David later on released a documentary about basketball. It called the first basket and I actually helped him and they become consultant. And I think he's enjoying life a lot more than he used to over there. 

[00:20:42] Mahan Tavakoli: You ended up leaving Ogilvy to start Sage, but this is at a time where your wife was pregnant or had just given birth, which is typically not when people leave an established organization to start one of their own. What got you to do that David.

[00:21:03] David Gorodetski: I left just before she got pregnant so that it was okay. The reason why I left is because I realize that there's more to life and life is too short and you never know what's going to end. And so I left with the purpose of going back to Israel. The idea was not to start Sage or anything. It was really to go back to Israel. However, at the time, after being here for several years, On a green card, we were close enough to apply for citizenship.

And my mom and the family said, guys you started so long. Everything is slow down anyhow, you save some money. Enjoy life at the state, apply for citizenship, come back after. And we said, okay. So, we stayed, we had more time, which I think related to why she got pregnant, and a neighbor and a friend who was laid off every once in a while, we stopped by and said, Hey, I have this idea.

And I said, yeah, go ahead. He said why won't you start your own agency. You crazy enough. It might be successful. And I get unemployment. So you don't have to pay me anything, and I said I don't know. I mean, why would I go through all of that? And a few months I'm going back to Israel, I know he insisted, I said, sure, let's do it.

That's how it all started. And suddenly I got a business and another client and another client and, then my wife decided guys, now I'm pregnant, I'm gonna get the hell out of here, because we got to the point that five people came to my house every day to do work. And I'm not talking about the mansion.

This is a house, modest house in a McLean , a very modest house. So that's how the whole thing started.

[00:22:56] Mahan Tavakoli: And over the years you, along with your partner, Larry grew Sage. but, two years ago we were hit with COVID David, which has impacted all individuals, all kinds of organizations. So How did COVID impact you guys?

[00:23:18] David Gorodetski: So let me explain the timeframe first. I was in Philadelphia pitching a large account on Tuesday, Wednesday, beginning of March. I ended up being in the office on Thursday when things start to hit the news and, people talking about, okay, curfew, you know, don't go out, I talked to my IT people and asked them, can we work remotely?

And they said, we're not sure how. And I said, okay, this is Thursday afternoon. I'm going to tell everyone in the company, not to come to the office tomorrow, Friday, let's try to figure it out. Let's try to everyone work from home remotely, give them all the laptop loaner that we have, let them take any company that they want.

 Let's see what's going on. And we never got back to the office since. So that's what happened. How did it hit us? I'm humbled to say that, in many ways, COVID was good for Sage and good for David and it's very difficult to say. Because, we didn't got hurt with the business.

We actually got busier than before. it allowed me to become the much better leader, one that intuitively, use his capacity of vulnerability and openness and honesty and direct approach to tell people when I don't know, to guide them through that uncertainty to guarantee them that I'm available when they need me, to use virtual tools, to communicate on a regular basis with everyone.

And, I think that helped me to become the leader who I am. learned a lot for COVID. I think that both professional growth and personal growth COVID was good for me. You know, me, I'm an extrovert and I missed the social gathering and I sometimes think that I forgot the skills of being in social environment. Uh, not really, but, uh, yeah, that's for David, but Sage has done an amazing job the team, The team work really hard, but the team that we start when COVID started and the team that we have today change by 50%. 

[00:25:30] Mahan Tavakoli: Oh, wow.

[00:25:32] David Gorodetski: We have a turnover of 50%. We never had that. We never had that before. not just that we got really, really, really busy as we start to get out of COVID. The biggest challenge we had is the turnover. What happened? we were busy, we were paying salaries, we kept everyone intact. We didn't let anyone go. We didn't lose any business. Nohing. And that people live what's going on here. but we survived that. I think we survived when the core people that leaders of this organization, we all come together and I'm really humble for this experience. It's not easy to experience what we did when I know that other organizations struggled. 

Now, our struggle is nothing compared to organization have to seen in front of half of the staff and tell them you have to leave. We no longer can use PPP to support you guys. You have to leave. We never had to do that. So I was spared that part. And, I'm really grateful for being where we are. 

[00:26:37] Mahan Tavakoli: And that's a wonderful that, you have been able to manage through the crisis. David, I'm just curious. You mentioned the turnover, which is extremely high, a lot of contributing factors to that. What do you believe has contributed the most to it, and how do you think the business will be different as a result of that level of turnover into the future?

[00:27:02] David Gorodetski: I think the people who better understand what we do and Sage is doing. And I, you know, people might not understand it, but we are fully integrated firm. We do advertising, we do public relation. And then we do, a lot of sophisticated strategy plan and research and marketing campaign, mainly for organization who live in the public sector.

So it's either work directly for governments, both federal, state, and local, higher education, healthcare, but also to organization that sell to that public sector. So for me, I consider the work that we do as a cause related marketing. And here is why. Every time someone support public sector that serves citizens, serve six people, serves students.

We do something to help them to serve them better. When we do work for government, we do work that informed citizen about what government is doing. This is all cause related. And in some eyes, people who wants to work in Madison Avenue type agency, this is not what Sage is. We don't do work that can compete with Madison Avenue.

 We don't experiment with marketing tactics because our clients need solid, proven tactics. But we are subject matter expert. At Sage, you can find people to understand cyber security and cloud solution and then on and on and on and on. That turn over allow us to be more selective in who we bring onto Sage.

 We also focused on more content creators, and our reputation continued to grow. We learned a lot through the standards and how to realign the agency, which also related to the latest change of ownership of the agency altogether, in a way that is, I know it's an alternate, but it's a stage 2.0.

[00:28:59] Mahan Tavakoli: To that point, Sage 2.0, Larry Rosenfeld who had been a co-founder and had been with you in this journey, retired. So you are the CEO, and responsible for this Sage 2.0. What is your vision and where do you see taking Sage 2.0?

[00:29:22] David Gorodetski: It's not my vision. It's a collective vision. Julie Murphy is a partner at Sage and she's president and together, she and I are collecting ideas, visions, hopes, wishes for everyone at Sage. The first thing that we have done is we met with everyone in small groups and want to hear from them. I find it, if I was in a military environment and I was the commander and I will tell them what to do, they would have done that, but that's a different form of leadership. And here, if I would lay down my vision and people don't believe well in the vision, how hard they're going to work. And I work in organizations that the owners or the C-suite walk down the hall and say, think like an owner, think like an owner. I'm not an owner. How do you want to think like an order?

So in order to, allow people to feel vested in this organization, I want to see that their vision come to fruition. I want to work with people. And not all idea will be executed by we collecting this ideas together and we'll bring it to life.. And, from those meetings that she and I have done, even the smallest thing, you know, people say we overwhelmed, we have so many emails. We have no time to think. So we already implemented that we gonna avoid having, between 9 and 10 schedule any meetings, unless client demand that, we start the first hour of the day, a quiet hour, let people at time to think we implemented, other program that enhance benefits and mental health. I have to do it with them I cannot do it by myself. It's an organization of people and without them, Sage is nothing. 

[00:31:04] Mahan Tavakoli: And that's a wonderful way of looking at a David. I've had a lot of conversations with various, thought leaders. And one of the once I had a couple of months ago is with Rich Deviney, who had been part of the Navy Seals for 20 years commanded many seal team six missions. And what he talks about is the need for dynamic subordination and how the seal teams do that really well, which enables the different individuals on the team to lead.

Even with respect to military, especially special forces that all the version of leadership deciding what should be done, telling people to do it and going at it is not the way it operates. So I'm really, glad to hear that your perspective on creating that future vision is a collective creation of that vision. People working together to achieve that vision. 

You have a lot of great things, that you have done and ahead, if you were to reflect back David and give advice to young David graduating from the university in Haifa, or even after getting your masters at the Parsons School of Design, what career and life advice would you give that younger David and young leaders?

[00:32:29] David Gorodetski: I feel that the young David follow his heart, he pick up something he really love. And I have never felt that I work a day in my life. And that will be the first advice I will give anyone when, before they picket career, because I truly believe that if you do something you very passionate about, you will be successful in doing so.

I would advise them to know the importance of setting expectation or in other words, own your know. Own you know, meaning that you are capable of, and I use the know as a keyword here is knowing how to stand in front of a manager and respond to their requests with, I dunno how to do it. I have never done it before. I need help. I'm stressed. Teach me. 

All of those options are a lot better than to say yes and fail. Which go back to failure. I think that we are as a society for many reason, for God, but many don't even know how to celebrate failures. I think the act of celebrating a failure is incredible because it's a lesson that you never repeat. Successes when they come, they're easy to forget Failure, you don't. 

I'll give you a real example. A month ago, one of my key people who I admire, she's a very hard worker. She's brilliant. And I give her more and more responsibilities and she stepped into them and she never complained. She called me Friday afternoon and said, David, I have to talk to you. I made a mistake.

I said, okay, what's going on? And she's telling me that mistake. And through the discovery that we discovered that there was another mistake related to the first mistake. And those two combined are costly mistakes. And I said, listen, thank you for sharing all of that. I would've know about it anyhow, but thank you for sharing.

Here's what I want you to do tonight. I wanted to go out. I wanted to order yourself a bottle of wine and expensive on David. Give me David, not Sage the receipt. And I want you to celebrate that failure because I know that you'll never repeat it. And I told it to many other people at Sage, 

I think that we always have to explore the unknown. We have to try to become better. And along the way we will fail. There is no doubt about it. We will. But when you do, share that with others, be proud of that failure, the same way you are proud of your successes, because that everyone learns. So that would be my advice to, younger me.

I had a hard time accepted that. I was I'm a perfectionist, so it's much easier to give that advice to someone else than on myself, but I learned how to embrace the ideology. 

[00:35:14] Mahan Tavakoli: One of the things that happens David, is we give advice to others that sometimes we need to hear ourselves. So it's good for us to repeat that as we reflect on it. Now, David, you also have a fun artist's side to you. I see all kinds of delicious foods and things that you make that make me want to drop by your house and partake in some of the awesome food. And you want to become a standup comedian. What is that aspiration all about?

[00:35:49] David Gorodetski: Making food and make people laugh are very similar, right? The reason why I'm decently good cook, forget it, I'm great cook because, Hey, I'm not intimidated by cooking. I'm not following recipe, and I'm improvising, and I guess I have good touch, but really the reason behind it is I like to make people feel good, can make them happy, but I can make them feel good.

I never thought that I'm funny enough to make them feel good, laughing. So I am inspired to be better at making people laugh sometime I can, but my humor is a bit sophisticated, a bit dirty, a bit misunderstood add it to my accent, I do not know if I can do that, but I will. 

[00:36:42] Mahan Tavakoli: Well, one of the things I've appreciated about you David, in the many meetings we've been in, whether in person or over zoom, you have a fun way to interject humor and bring laughter to the group. And that is a really important way for us to connect with each other, to connect with each other's humanity. And enjoy this process called life. There is no other endpoints and I'm not sure any of us want to get to that end point. We might as well enjoy this journey. And part of the enjoyment of journey is a wonderful chance to share it with friends that bring a smile to your face, bring a joy to your life, make observations, and comments.

 That make you smile at the 10th times of any of the zoom meetings or any of the others. So I think it's a real special quality that you have.

[00:37:40] David Gorodetski: Thank you. I appreciate it very much coming from you. We've been in many meetings and sometimes we get my critical mind and I come across very hard. But I always try to wrap it at some point with some humor and most of my humor's is about myself. It's really easy to make fun of me by myself and by others. I have a raw material to make fun of. 

[00:38:08] Mahan Tavakoli: You have the confidence and you have the sense of humor to be able to do that David and I really appreciate you taking the time to share some of your own story, some of your own journey, some of your leadership ups and downs and leadership lessons with the partnering leadership community. I have cherished the opportunity to get to know you and call you a dear friend.

 And I really appreciate you sharing this on the partnering leadership podcast. Thank you so much, David. Gorodetski.

[00:38:40] David Gorodetski: Thank you Mahan. Thank you so much for having me.